The U.S. State Department said Wednesday it was “troubled” by Venezuela’s economic pact with Cuba.
“We are troubled that a country with a democratic tradition like Venezuela would want to strengthen its ties to the only undemocratic regime and closed economy in the hemisphere,” spokesman Richard Boucher said.
The comments came after Venezuela and Cuba signed an economic integration agreement and Caracas adopted internal measures similar to Cuba’s.
Boucher also criticized the bid by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to expand the nation’s Supreme Court. The measure was passed when the political opposition boycotted the national assembly where the measure was discussed. Critics have called the move undemocratic.
“We see this as packing the court,” Boucher said.
He added: “Unfortunately, in Venezuela we’re witnessing increasing difficulties on the part of the judicial authorities to deliver impartial justice.”
Ties between Washington and Caracas have been tense since it emerged that the United States knew of a failed coup plot to depose Chavez in 2002.